Archive for October 8th, 2013

Bodden Town pushed from teen basketball top spot

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(CNS): More than 120 boys and girls took to the basketball courts to showcase their talents in the annual PwC Under 16 Boys and Girls Leagues. Sponsored by the auditors for more than seven consecutive years it has yielded some great results, organizers said. This year's leagues saw a change of guard as the previous '3-peat; Boys Champions – Bodden Town, had to hand over the reins to Wesleyan who were led by League and Finals MVP Albis Amaya (who led the league in scoring and rebounds), and Star Guards Arin Taylor and Juawon Ebanks who were the most dominant at the first and second positions.

For the Girls, The Lynx captured their first championship led by League MVP Hannah Parchment and Rising Star Khalian O'Connor,the Lynx were able to dominate the majority of the season and quickly became the favourites.  Due to their dedication at practice and teamwork, they were an unstoppable force, league organizers said in a release.

Angilynn Chan-Baraud, PwC’s Business Development Manager said the firm was proud to support the youngsters in developing skills such as; sportsmanship, team work, dedication and physical well-being.  “We commend those involved who contribute their time from score keeping to coaching our youth throughout the season.  The league would not be a success without such individuals,” she said. 

PwC's financial support allows proper statistical record keeping it also allows the game to be played indoors which is extremely important to player development. The league provides a fun, safe environment for young teens to engage in the sport of basketball, learn about teamwork and commitment as well as gain local and international recognition for their talents.

Because of this league and the role it plays in youth basketball development, more than 10 athletes have been able to land spots on high school rosters in the US and even more have gone on to college. 

If you or someone you know would be interested in participating in the PwC Under 16 Basketball League, please email info@caymanbasketball.org for more details.
 

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Local elders enjoy celebration of age and wisdom

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(CNS): Cayman’s older folks are in the spotlight this month as the country celebrates the contribution that is elder community members make to society and on Thursday West Bay’s seniors enjoyed a special lunch in the district followed by a tea party at the governor’s residence on Friday for seniors from all over the islands, Over 100 older persons attended the luncheon at the John Gray Memorial United Church with various musical performances while some 80 folks gathered at Government House, where they enjoyed a lively afternoon filled with entertainment by various local acts where Aunt Sookie also made a special appearance.

In keeping with this year’s theme, Listening to Our Older Persons, the month-long celebration seeks to recognize the contributions that seniors have made and continue to make in the community.

For more information on Older Person’s Month or for a full list of activities, please contact DCFS at 949-0290, or visit www.dcfs.gov.ky

 

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England’s young adults flounder in literacy and maths

| 08/10/2013 | 32 Comments

(BBC): Young adults in England have scored among the lowest results in the industrialised world in international literacy and numeracy tests. A major study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows how England's 16 to 24-year-olds are falling behind their Asian and European counterparts. England is 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy out of 24 countries. Unlike other developed countries, the study also showed that young people in England are no better at these tests than older people, in the 55 to 65 age range. When this is weighted with other factors, such as the socio-economic background of people taking the test, it shows that England is the only country in the survey where results are going backwards – with the older cohort better than the younger.

The highest-performing countries among this younger age group were Japan, Finland and the Netherlands. The country with the lowest numeracy skills was the United States, plummeting from once being one of the strongest education systems.

This landmark study from the OECD set out to measure the level of skills within the adult population – testing actual ability in literacy, numeracy and digital skills, rather than looking at qualifications.

It involved 166,000 adults taking tests in 24 education systems, representing populations of 724 million people. From the UK, adults in England and Northern Ireland participated.

The study looked at the level of skills across the adult population, between the ages of 16 and 65. England and Northern Ireland are below average for both literacy and numeracy, in league tables headed by Japan and Finland.

But for most industrialised countries the younger population are much better at such tests than the older generations.

However, for England, when the results are separated from Northern Ireland, there was a different and unusual pattern, with almost no advance in test results between the 55 to 65-year-olds and those aged 16 to 24.

This younger group will have many more qualifications, but the test results show that these younger people have no greater ability than those approaching retirement who left schools with much lower qualifications in the 1960s and 1970s.

The grandchildren are not any better at these core skills than their grandparents.

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Immigration meetings set for WB and GT

| 08/10/2013 | 31 Comments

(CNS): Government has added a date for George Town to the schedule of planned island-wide town hall meetings to explain the proposed immigration reform, which is set to be the cornerstone of the PPM administration’s first year in office. The first public meeting is tonight (Tuesday, 8 October) at the John A. Cumber School Hall in West Bay and the second will be in George Town on Thursday, 10 October, at Elmslie United Church. The proposed amendment bill was published on 20 September and sets out the first major changes to the local immigration regime which, mostly because of high local unemployment, are proving exceptionally contentious.

Government is hoping the meetings can address concerns and provide an opportunity to present its employment initiatives.

The bill proposes a number of major changes, including the removal of the seven year term limit for ex-pat workers and the key employee designation, which allowed employers to select key personnel to apply to stay past seven years and be in a position to apply for permanent residency.

The Progressives government has proposed removing that barrier and allowing all expatriate work permit holders to stay until year eight, when they are eligible to apply for permanent residency, removing that first barrier.

Government has justified this by pointing out that with the key employee designation the only way through rollover to permanent residency was through employers, and it was them and not government who were choosing who gets to stay and go on to become Caymanian. By allowing all work permit holders to stay and have the chance to apply for PR if they want, while increasing the stringency of the application process, it will be the government — the people of Cayman — and not bosses that get to choose who becomes one of them. The premier has stated that the new regime will make it much more difficult to get PR but ex-pat workers will also see very clearly what the criteria is.

Those refused PR will be forced to leave in year nine and appeals will have to be made from overseas.

However, many local people remain unconvinced that this will prove an effective barrier and are also concerned that the workers will also get to stay longer. They believe that the removal of the first barrier will see significant numbers of foreign workers staying at a time when unemployment among Caymanians is very high and this will make it increasingly difficult for qualified and experienced Caymanians to find work.

All residents are being urged to attend the meetings, which begin at 7pm in West Bay and 7:30pm in George Town and  ask questions or raise their concerns about the policies.

Officials added that dates for the remaining districts will be announced as they are set.

See immigration amendment bill below, as well as the proposed revamp of the permanent residency points system.

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Alleged fraudsters charged in credit card jewel con

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(CNS): Two Malaysian men who were arrested on Thursday, 5 October, on suspicion of fraud have been charged with obtaining a money transfer by deception and attempting to obtain a money transfer by deception. The men, aged 30 and 50, were arrested after police responded to a report of credit card fraud at a George Town retail store. A large number of credit cards and jewellery valued at around US $200,000 were recovered by police. Detective Inspector Ian Lavine, the officer in charge of the investigation, is encouraging staff within stores to continue to be vigilant about such criminal deceptions.

“The staff within this particular store noticed that something wasn’t quite right with the card being tendered. They immediately called the Financial Crime Unit and subsequent enquiries led to the swift apprehension of the suspects,” the officer stated.  “Store staff should always take time to verify that the customer’s name and signature match that on the credit card and should always ask for the card to be accompanied by photo identification such as a driving license or a passport.”

The men were taken before the court Monday afternoon and were remanded in custody until they return to the Grand Court on Friday 11 October.

Anyone who requires further information about how to combat credit card fraud should contact the RCIPS Financial Crime Unit on 949-8797.

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Experts say cyber bullying growing in Cayman

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(CNS): As the country marks its first ever Bullying Awareness Month, local experts said that there is more to bullying than “just kids being kids” and the problem of cyber bullying here in the Cayman Islands is increasing. The Family Resource Centre (FRC),which has organised the awareness month, aims to educate the public on how to protect children from the effects of bullying and to unite communities. FRC’s programme coordinator, Miriam Foster, urged parents to use the month as a good opportunity to talk with their children about bullying and their online experiences.

“Considering the advanced forms of technology and popular social sites now available, cyber bullying is a growing issue in the Cayman Islands and it is critical that young people understand the consequences of what they post online,” she said

The first of a number of events will be the Take a Stand Conference on Wednesday, 16 October from 5:30pm-8:30pm at the George Town Public Library. The event will include interactive presentations, hands-on activities and information for children, teens, parents and employers. LIME staff will also facilitate computer safety and cyber bullying prevention sessions.

Cyber bullying can range from sending mean messages or threats, spreading rumours, and posting unflattering pictures, to pretending to be someone else online. Z99 and its sponsors are helping educate through Radio Public Service Announcements.

Refreshments will be available. The event is free but registration is required. To register, interested persons are asked to contact the centre at 949-0006 or email frc@gov.ky.

Friday 18 October  will be 'Stand Up Day'. The public is encouraged to participate in the Business and Professional Women’s Club (BPWC) Silent Witness March at 5:30 pm as the domestic violence march is now being extended to victims of bullying, since these relationships are parallel.

Following this, Ocean Marie Van Der Bol will share her personal story on bullying. 

A collaborative art piece created on the day will also be on display at Heroes’ Square during the rest of the month.

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Cayman hospital becomes medical training centre

| 08/10/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA) has announced that it now has the authority to assign credits from the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils (CAMC) to interns who practice at the Cayman Islands Hospital, establishing a full internship programme at the local hospital. The internship programme is a year-long and allows medical students to spend three months in the areas of internal medicine, general surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics & gynaecology.  The students that are currently participating in this programme are from the University of the West Indies and other regional Caribbean Universities. Medical Director Dr Delroy Jefferson said it was a highly anticipated programme.

“Medical interns are an integral part of the care team, internship allows them to use what they have learned in medical school as well as acquire clinical skills.  This internship programme will be a benefit to everyone,” the senior doctor stated in a release from the HSA.

The accreditation followed a CARICOM meeting back in 2010 between the Caucus of Ministers of Health, which charged the CAMC with the responsibility of accrediting hospitals for internship periods in CARICOM member states, in the hope of promoting regional registration of physicians so as to enhance the public's access to quality health care services in the region. Then Cayman officials recently hosted a CAMC accreditation team who visited for a three day assessment of the Cayman Islands Hospital, at the invitation of the Ministry of Health in conjunction with Dr Jefferson. To facilitate the assessment, a steering committee of doctors at the HSA, led by Jefferson, was formed.

Lizzette Yearwood, the CEO of the Health Services Authority said the HSA could not have received this high level accreditation without the commitment by the Cayman Islands Government, which she said, has given its full backing to the programme.

“Quite apart from the cost of hosting the CAMC accreditation team, the Ministry of Health has had to commit funds to secure four to six junior posts at the hospital as well as onsite on-call accommodation for four interns, for the hospital to be considered for CAMC accreditation,” she explained. “We are therefore extremely grateful to the Ministry for their vision in realising the benefits such that accreditation will bring to the hospital and its interns and their commitment to ensuring Cayman’s health services met the required standard.”

Yearwood added that the Cayman Islands Hospital had to satisfy stringent conditions as laid down by the CAMC Accreditation team before it was awarded accreditation.

“The accreditation review process is rigorous and the hospital was required to prove that it provides a good all-round service including a suitably supervised experience in all the major disciplines,” she said. . “The consultant staff were required to show that they provide direction to the students and ensure that only the highest standards of practice are maintained. The approval is based on such factors as the level of supervision that will be provided by supervisors, the teaching programme and facilities of the hospital as a good service institution as a whole.”

Osbourne Bodden, Minister Health, Sports, Youth and Culture said he is pleased to see this programme in place, as it provides a great learning experience for the medical students.

“Offering internationally recognised university credits from such a well-established body as the CAMC means we can provide valuable opportunities to support Caymanian interns. We believe that enhancing our health service offering in the Cayman Islands in this way only helps us to reach our goal of becoming a leading light in the provision of healthcare in the region,” the minister added

The Cayman Islands joins hospitals in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and the Bahamas in providing CAMC credits for interns.

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Professional women to march against violence

| 08/10/2013 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Grand Cayman will be holding the 13th annual Silent Witness March to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence that still prevails in the local community, next week. Partnering with the Family Resource Centre, this year also marks the first time that victims of bullying are recognized as well an initiative from the Family Resource Centre. BPW Grand Cayman President, Andrea Williams said the goal was to increase “awareness and motivate the community to work together to assist victims and ultimately eradicate domestic violence and bullying in the Cayman Islands."

Everyone is invited and participants are encouraged to meet at the Government Administration Building on Friday 18 October at 5:30. The route will be directed down Elgin Avenue, to Edwards Street and finish at Celebration Park by the courthouse parking lot.  A short ceremony will follow with guest speakers including the governor, Helen Kilpatrick, and the minster responsible for gender affairs as well as special guest, the premier, Alden McLaughlin.

"The Silent Witness March is a powerful reminder that domestic violence and bullying continue to exist in the Cayman Islands” Williams said. “Through the march, we come together as a community to recognize the victims of domestic violence and bullying.”

She also noted that this year marks the 5th anniversary of the murder of Estella Scott Roberts. 

“While Estella was not a victim of domestic violence, she was a tireless advocate for victims of domestic violence as the first manager of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.  We will remember and honour not only her, but women like Lisa Hlady who was murdered in 2001, and the many others who have suffered as a result of domestic violence in the Cayman Islands and around the world”.

Participants are encouraged to wear the colour purple –the colour of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (1 to 31 October).

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Expert to reveal local geological evolution

| 08/10/2013 | 4 Comments

(CNS): World renowned, award winning geologist Dr Brian Jones will be visiting the Cayman Islands next week to share his geological knowledge in local schools and to deliver a special lecture, "Geological Evolution of the Cayman Islands" on 18 October at the UCCI. Sponsored by the Water Authority, as Jones has worked with them for more than three decades, the visit starts on 14 October, when he will deliver a one-day geology course for high school teachers and geology lessons for students before his main  lecture on at the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Caribbean Conference.

“Dr Jones has done extensive scientific research on the geology of the Cayman Islands over a period of 30 years and students and teachers will benefit from his generous offer to donate a week of his time to provide first class education on geology,” said Dr Gelia Frederick-van Genderen, Director of the Water Authority.

Around ten teachers will participate in the free one-day course and well over three hundred students will attend the geology lessons at their school.

“Dr Jones’ 30 year relationship with the Cayman Islands and the Water Authority coincides with the Authority’s 30 year anniversary, so it is fitting that this week is part of the Authority’s 30 year anniversary celebrations.”

Jones is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, Canada, and has been an educator for close to four decades. His fieldwork has taken him all over the world.

“Since the early 1980’s Dr. Jones, his colleagues and students of the university have conducted scientific geological research in the Cayman Islands,” said Hendrik-Jan van Genderen, Water Resources Engineer at the Water Authority. “The Cayman Islands has benefitted from this work and advice as Dr Jones shares his work with the Water Authority, the Department of the Environment, the National Trust and any other government agency that needs specific information on the geology of the Cayman Islands and he willingly advises on geological issues.” 

For more information on the lecture and to register for the conference on 18 October contact the UCCI or visit the conference website.

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Flu cases increase but no sign of bird strain

| 08/10/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Although cases of suspected flu surged during September in the Cayman Islands, public health officials say that there is no indication that any of these are the serious strain of H1N1, known as swine flu. Following international reports that some countries are experiencing several cases of H1N1(2009 pandemic strain), Medical Officer of Health, Dr Kiran Kumar, is alerting the public to observe the basic flu preventative measures, including proper hand washing techniques. In the Cayman Islands, an average 85 to 90 cases of flu-like illnesses are reported per week.  

During August 2013, flu cases were averaging about 67 per week, well below the usual rate. Then in the first week of September 2013, this number rose to 111 cases, climbing to 169 in the third week before dropping off to 145 in the fourth week.  “We will continue to monitor our situation,” said Dr Kumar. 

In the months of August and September, seven respiratory samples were tested and no Influenza A or B detected.

Although there are no positive samples thus far, it is anticipated that the flu season will see different strains like Influenza A (H1N1), Influenza A (H3N2), Influenza B, and other respiratory viruses. There is no way to know whether someone is going to get H1N1 or H3N2.

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

The 2013-2014 Influenza vaccine does include the H1N1and H3N2 strains.  Dr. Kumar noted that, “We are expecting the arrival of approximately 3,000 doses during the week of October 14, 2013, via the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and we will begin to immunize at-risk persons immediately and make it available to everyone  on a first-come-basis as long as supplies last.”

In addition to this, The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad has indicated that there is no bird flu (H1N5) in the Caribbean.  Dr. Kumar also stated that there are adequate supplies of Tamiflu for patients who need it.

Prevent the spread of flu

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze (throw the tissue in the trash after you use it), i.e. Cover, Clean, Contain. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub may be used.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school until your illness is over.

For more information on the prevention of flu, please contact the Public Health Department on 244-2621.

Related article:

It's Swine Flu (Trinidad Express, 3 October 2013)

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